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Full text of "The Gay Genius"

204                             THE GAY GENIUS

previous existence and may become fairies again in our next. 

About this same time Su wrote another very brief sketch on a moon
light walk. It is a record of a passing mood when he could not sleej:
one night and got up to walk in the moonlight at the Chengtier
Temple, which was very close to the Linkao House. This little sketd
has now become a classic, very much loved for its casual charm. ^

A Night Promenade at Chengtien (1083)

"On the twelfth night of the tenth moon of the sixth year oi
Yuanfeng, I had undressed and was going to bed, when the moon-
light entered my door, and I got up, happy of heart. There was nc
one to share this happiness with me, so I walked over to the Cheng
tien Temple to look for Huaimin. He, too, had not yet gone tc
bed, and we paced about in the garden. It looked like a transparen
pool with the shadows of watergrass in it, but they were really thl
shadows of bamboos and pine trees cast by the moonlight. Isn'l
there a moon every night? And aren't there bamboos and pine tree!
everywhere? But there are few carefree people like the two of us."

The sketch is brief, but it is the perfect sensitive record of a complete!}
happy moment. If we believe in Su Tungpo's theory of inner form ir
writing, by which a man's personal style is merely the natural overflow
of his spirit, we can see that to write in perfect peace and simple con-
tentment, he had first to have that spirit. IJow he cultivated tnai
mental poise and self-possession we shall see in the next chapter.